How to prevent stretched out cupsFeb 23, 2021
Here is the latest bra I made. It’s the Boylston bra pattern from Orange Lingerie and it’s made with gorgeous lace from Bodils Wear. The bra is beautiful but there’s something bothering me, that you don’t quit see on the pictures: the upper edges on the cups are stretched out. What a bummer.
I should’ve seen this coming at the very beginning. I know what I did wrong but I was too stubborn or wanted to sew on auto-pilot and didn’t fix it from the start. Lesson learned. And I’m writing this blogpost now to save you from the same mistakes.
Read further to see what I did wrong and how to fix these stretched out cups.
Choose the best cut and sew foam
I have 4 different cut and sew foams in 3 different qualities. The ones that I got from Kantje Boord in Amsterdam are by far the best that I own. I have 1 in black and 1 in nude. They are a bit thicker so you will have bulkier seams while sewing, but they hold their shape so good. There’s really not a bit of stretch in it while sewing the upper cup edge. (I used the nude one for the first bra in my previous blogpost.)
I have this other cut and sew foam in nude that has a very soft touch (it was also more expensive), has stretch in it and is very supple. You see immediately that a cup made in this cut and sew foam won’t be able to hold it’s shape. So why did I use this foam for my bra?? Mistake nr 1.
Please, if you have a variety of cut and sew foam in your stash, use the best. You can use the lesser ones for try-out versions of a pattern.
Cutting a stretchy cut and sew foam
Let’s say you only have one quality foam and it stretches. When cutting out place the greatest stretch of your foam vertically so the upper edge won’t stretch out horizontally!
I’m so used to cutting the foam without stretch, that I didn’t pay attention to it. Mistake nr 2.
Lining the cut and sew foam cup
Ok, so the damage was already done, I cut into the wrong foam, thinking it would work out anyway, and I cut it out with the most stretch horizontally in my upper cup piece.
Is there anything you can do to still save this?
I didn’t do it, because I realized it too late, but I think lining your upper cup piece (or the whole cup) with a non-stretch bra tulle or sheer cup lining could do the trick. You could put the lining upper cup on your foam upper cup and sew them as one piece when you sew the upper cup to the lower cups. Then finish it off with some seam-tape.
Sewing an elastic on the edge of your upper cup
Now this is something that I luckily did do. I used a 5 mm clear elastic to reinforce the upper edge a bit when sewing the foam to the lace edge. If I hadn’t done that, I’m sure it would’ve been worse.
On my other cut and sew foam I don’t have to sew an elastic on the edge because it’s stable enough on it’s own.
So here’s the lesson that I took from it. Don’t sew on auto-pilot if you’re using a trusted pattern but with different materials. Each material could require a different technique or different solution to provide you the desired outcome.
Your thoughts on stretched out cups
What are your experiences with stretched out cut and sew foam? Let me know below what your thoughts are about lining the cut and sew foam when there’s stretch in it. Or if you have other solutions!
If you’re using one of my tips you can tag me with #cliosatelier on Instagram and Facebook. Also have a look at my Patterns page where I keep a record of the commercial and indie patterns that I used.
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